Cinnamon Spice Upside Down Apple Cake

This delicious upside down apple cake has a decadent brown sugar caramel and apple cinnamon topping and is the perfect way to use up some apples!

apple upside down cake with caramel dripping down the corner
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Move over all other types of upside-down cakes. My new cinnamon spice upside-down apple cake blows them out of the water. The brown sugar, apple, and spice topping is an apple caramel dream, and the cake itself is a tender, crumbed, vanilla-flavored apple cake that I could easily make and top with another icing.

Yes, I love a good strawberry rhubarb upside down cake and my peach upside down cake is the bomb. But when it comes down to using up apples in a recipe, this will beat even apple crisp.

close up delicious upside down apple cake with decadent brown sugar caramel and apple cinnamon toppings

Apple Cake

“This is the best cake you’ve ever made.”  It could definitely be argued that my kids have tried more types of dessert than any other child out there. My first bestselling cookbook was 125 desserts, and my second cookbook had a few chapters of sweet treats as well. That said, my daughter (who has tested more different cake types than anyone I know other than myself) literally just said those words to me about this apple cake as we finished eating slices of this cake topped with a smidgen of vanilla ice cream.

The Two Parts to This Cake

  1. The Apple Cake : The cake itself is freaking amazing. I am going to use it as my basic coffee cake recipe from now on. It’s light but dense enough that it holds together when you slice it. I don’t think it needs spices, but you could add cinnamon if you like. I think that we need to leave the spices to the topping – and once you try it I think you’ll agree.
  2. The Cinnamon Spice Apple Topping – This topping had the kids (okay fine, it was actually all of us) fighting over the edges pieces. The ooey, gooey buttery brown caramel sauce soaks into the cake and turns the edges of the cake into a slightly hardened, sticky candied cake edge. The edges are the best part of the cake, not even kidding.
close up slice of upside down apple cake with cinnamon spice apple topping and vanilla ice cream

Types of Apples to Use

Sour apples don’t really work in this recipe, so Granny Smith aren’t the best here. You COULD add more sugar to combat that, but this cake was perfect as is and I used Gala apples. This recipe works the best with sweeter apples such as:

  • Gala
  • Red Delicious
  • Honeycrisp
  • Ambrosia
  • Golden Delicious.

The point to this recipe is to use up apples – I used up 5 small/medium sized apples on this recipe- that you really need to use up quickly. It’s okay if the apples are starting to shrivel a bit as long as they aren’t rotten or moldy. Simply peel them as use them, you don’t need the apples to be crisp in this recipe.

close up delicious upside down apple cake with decadent brown sugar caramel and apple cinnamon toppings

This is now my go-to recipe for using up apples quickly and I’m not going to lie, we ate this for breakfast three days in a row.

What can I say, between having to stay at home and homeschooling my kids, the general stress of the world today, I’m letting things go. Cake for breakfast is happening. This really makes a good breakfast, the cake isn’t too sweet and the apples are such a nice change of pace.

Happy baking!



Cinnamon Spice Upside Down Apple Cake

This delicious upside down apple cake has a decadent brown sugar caramel and apple cinnamon topping and is the perfect way to use up some apples!
5 from 18 votes
apple upside down cake with caramel dripping down the corner
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
20 slices
Karlynn Johnston


Upside Down Apple Cinnamon Topping

  • 1/2 cup melted salted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 4 cups thinly sliced apples peel and core them first

Apple Cake Batter

  • 1 cup butter soft & at room temp
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated apples peel and core them first, measure the grated apple packed into the measuring cup.


Topping (goes in the bottom of the pan)

  • Prepare a 13 inch x 9 inch pan by greasing the sides then pouring the melted butter into the bottom.
  • Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the melted butter.
  • Arrange the apple slices in an even layer on top of the sugar/butter mixture.

Apple Cake Batter

  • Cream your butter and sugars together, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla.
  • Whisk together your dry ingredients. Beat into the wet ingredients until combined. Mix in the shredded apples until spread throughout the batter.
  • Gently spread the batter over top of the apple mixture.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes, until it's golden brown and a knife inserted comes out clean. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes,
  • One you can touch the pan safely, run a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the edges, then flip onto a large platter or sheet pan.

Recipe Notes

  • The “topping” part starts out by going into the bottom of the pan, so that when you flip it, it’s the actual topping that drizzles down over top of the cake.
  • Do NOT blot the shredded apples, you need all of the moisture for the cake batter!!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 302kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 200mg, Potassium: 126mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 496IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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This delicious upside down apple cake has a decadent brown sugar caramel and apple cinnamon topping and is the perfect way to use up some apples!

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Kenny Huff says

    I ad 5 Oz of plain yogurt and made this recipe in 2 9″ rounds

    • Esther Lord says

      I made the recipe for your Upside Down Pineapple Bread Pudding last night as part of our New Year’s Eve munchies spread. I double the butter and brown sugar for the base in my baking dish. Oh Man 🤗, it was freaking deeeeelicious 😋. My husband asked me to put that recipe in with his favorites !! It was a big hit for everyone else too !! Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait to check out the recipe up above. Again, thank you 😉✌️

  2. Zaida Velazquez says

    Hi Karlynn, in the Apple Cake Batter ingredients you listed 1cup “grated” apples but in your directions for Apple Cake Batter you use the word “shredded” apples. I thought grated and shredded were two different things. What should I do grate the apples or shred the apples. Please let me know because I can’t wait to try this amazing cake recipe and thank you so much!

    • Sherry mennis says

      I just made the cake,and the apples didn’t get done,I used several layers on the topping or I would have had lots of apples left I cooked it for 50 some mins when I dumped it out the apples in the middle didn’t have much goo on them I used the amount you called for, so what so I do ?

  3. Jillian says

    This is one of my favourite recipe’s that I’ve tried off your website. I’ve been basically trying a new recipe every day (kind of like that movie … where the girl bakes all of I believe Julia Childs recipe’s *don’t quote me, my memory is awful) but that’s what I’ve been doing and it’s been so fun! Highly recommend.5 stars

  4. Sheila Martin says

    Nothing wrong with cake for breakfast – we even have ice cream for breakfast – ok together!

  5. Rinku says

    The recipe sounds amazing, however can I bake it in round 9” cake pan.

  6. Marika Diamond says

    Why couldn’t I use a yellow came mix … Add the grated apple, and some brown sugar..I think it woul work.

    • Rachel says

      I am going to try with spice cake mix and see how it turns out!

    • Jennifer says

      Can the upside down apple cake be put in the freezer?

  7. Sharene says

    It says to grate apples, however instructions say to arrange slices – did I miss something f?

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      Hi Sharlene,

      There are instructions for each part of the cake, there’s instructions for the batter and then there’s instructions for the topping. follow each one in order and you’ll see that one has grated apples and the other has sliced! Hope that helps!5 stars

  8. Nann says

    Hi Karlynn
    This caramel apple cake sounds marvelous
    Can’t wait to try it
    You are adorable!5 stars

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